From the humble fist pump to the griddy-on-ice, the art of the NHL goal celebration is expansive and always evolving.
But on Monday, Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta went back in time for inspiration and honoured Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams’ legendary ‘ride the stick’ celebration after scoring the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres.
On Wednesday, Williams shared his thoughts on the celebration tribute in an interview on The FAN Morning Show.
“I should’ve given him a lesson before he did it – he wasn’t very good at it,” joked Williams, the NHL’s all-time leader in penalty minutes (3,971). “He wasn’t low enough on his stick.
“He owes me a pizza for doing it. That’s my royalty on that deal.”
Williams – who played 14 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wing, LA Kings and Hartford Whalers – pulled off his iconic celebration in 1980, nearly 20 years before Pezzetta was born in 1998.
“It was my first game back in Toronto after being traded to Vancouver – there was no thought process,” Williams recalled on when he introduced the celebration. “It just happened, and that’s the way sports are supposed to be – it’s supposed to be spontaneous.”
Pezzetta, likewise, didn’t appear to premeditate the celebration. Playing only 6:25 during regulation, he got an unexpected nod in the sixth round of the shootout and made the most of his opportunity.
In both cases, the celebration wasn’t just a spontaneous expression of relief and joy, it was something that the team and fans could rally around.